Red Tail Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

482 Reviews
Red Tail AleRed Tail Ale

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2000

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Reviews: 482 | Ratings: 960
Photo of Fatehunter
3.19/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. Little to no head, a cloudy copper color.

Smells of orange, lemon zest, and a little barley.

A good bitterness, moves to a sweeter malt but not SWEET. Ends with a grapefruit flavor that holds on.

Crisp and medium body with moderate carbonation.

A nice drinking and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from tasting notes.

Pours out a slightly hazed amber color with about a finger and a half of foamy head that lasts for about a minute, leaving mediocre lacing behind on the glass. Smells like a lemon / orange peel hopping laying over a lightly toasted malt with just a hint of raisins, a really nice aroma profile. However, the flavor is a *lot* less pronounced than the nose had led me to expect, but contained exactly the same elements. A little bit on the heavier side of medium body but has adequate carbonation to move it around in the mouth. Still, it could stand to be a hair thinner in consistency.

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Photo of dmourati
3.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Second or third time trying this brew from Mendocino. Available in these parts at Whole Foods and the like.

Nice initial taste followed by a zing. Aftertaste is where I have to take away marks. A bit too spicy.

I'd like to see a smoother finish. Otherwise, pretty good.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.11/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mendocino Red Tail Ale has a medium-to-thick, cream-colored head and a hazy, brick-red appearance, with some ragged lacing left behind and little brown specks floating about. The aroma is harsh, with grain husk, turned fruit, and sourness, but this is alleviated once the head withers away, leaving a more pleasant fruit aspect. Taste is sweet & sour, with rugged brown bread notes and a straightforward bitterness across the sip. The mouthfeel is medium to full, and Red Tail Ale finishes wet and sloppy. This a rather unapproachable beer, but those who enjoy unrefined and somewhat striking flavors, may like it.


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Photo of soju6
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours an amber color with a moderate head that fades to moderate lacing.

S: Aroma of sweet malt, hint of dark fruit with a bit of citrus.

T: Taste consists of a mild sweetness with some fruit mixed in. A mild bitterness in the background with a clean finish.

F: Medium body, very smooth with just a bit of lingering stickiness.

O: Very drinkable. Pretty middle-of-the-road for the style.

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Photo of duderus123
4.72/5  rDev +36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mendo Brew's flagship Ale. My favorite Amber Ale of all time.
appearance = an Amber hue that is slighty tinged. The head poured out creamy and settled fairly quick. No fizzing No lacing to speak of.

smell = Caramelly malt scent. Piney hops scent.

taste = Malt tastes caramelly. A slightly yeasty flavor. The hops are pronouced, but not overpowering. Piney and citrusy flavor going on. True to the style.

mouthfeel = its got a medium heavy body. A tad bit sticky.

overall = 10 years ago, this was the first Amber Ale I'd ever tried, and its the best Amber Ale I've ever had to date. The industry standard. TRY IT!

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Photo of GossageBrewery
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, poured a slightly hazy amber color. Produced a white head, very nice retention and lacing left on the glass. The aroma of this amber ale consists of pale malted grain, and citrus. It reminds me of an APA. Medium in body, this beer has a toasted malt profile, caramel, and a nice citric hop flavor- semi dry finish. Excellent session beer, well balanced- Prost!

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a golden orange with some reddish hue. The off-white head builds impressively, but dies away quickly and leaves behind an average lace.

Smell - Light Caramel malts, a bit of citrus and grass or wheat. Not much else.

Taste - More light caramel in the taste, some citrus bitterness and a bit of spice. A not too unpleasant copper-like metallic note comes in toward the finish and stays with through the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - A slight malty body which suits this red well. The carbonation is right on the money, leaving a nice tingle on the lips and tongue. Goes down smooth.

Overall - This is a solid red ale from Mendocino. It's not the most complex or interesting beer, but it's got character. Anyone just getting into craft brews shouldn't have any trouble cutting their teeth on this one. Great session beer.

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Photo of thehenbarris
4.62/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh, my. I'm from Saratoga Springs, so I get the chance to have Red Tail at Olde Saratoga Brewery (Mendecino) often. In fact, I'm about to pick a keg of it up for home. However, tonight I had the chance to try this from a beer engine/cask. Wow.

A- Red/copper. Very very slight haze. "Head" was typical of a cask ale (larger bubbles, about 1/4-1/2"--from what I can tell, Mahar's in Albany doesn't use a sprinkler on their casks, but I could be wrong).

S- Hops, light fruits, caramel, malt.

T- Crisp. Light hits of caramel and citrus. A damn near perfect red ale experience.

M- Easily drinkable. No heavy CO2 in the cask ale, so I'm relying on the combination of yeast and finings to provide the character, which in this case is quite desirable.

If you have the chance to have this on cask (which is unlikely if you're not from the capital region of NY), do it!

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Photo of obywan59
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nearly clear, just a slight haze. I can read through it. Orange-amber in color with a 3 finger off-white head that leaves some nice sticky lacing. Light carbonation.

The aroma is of hops and sweet toasted barley.

Sweet upfront, but followed by some decent bitterness, perhaps just a touch overbalanced. More toasted malts with caramel.

Crisp and refreshing. It has a thicker feel than I would have expected. Some light prickle on the tongue, and it warms on the way down.

An easy drinker. This would be a great summertime session beer.

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Photo of vkv822
2.16/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours a slightly hazy, golden color with a short lived white, bubbly head.

The aroma and taste are both very subdued, not much going on beside some very faint grassy hop notes and biscuit malts.

The mouthfeel is average, medium body and appropriate carbonation.

Nothing special here, a bit of disappointment in the taste and aroma.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
2.67/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Look: Orangish copper color with a 1/2 inch white foamy head and good retention and lots of carbonation bubbles and some floaties

Smell: Wow this beer smells like that funky body odor you get after a workout. Something went wrong here

Taste: The beer has a funky caramel and toffee flavor with some bitter hops in the background

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation

Overall: I was not impressed with this beer at all and found it hard to finish and I will definitely be avoiding it in the future

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Photo of colforbin73
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i was looking for a lighter ale today, and while 6.1abv is a little more than light -- this hit the spot... haven't had one in a long time.

pours a nice amber, with decent foam and carbonation. the aroma is really mild with only the barest hint of sugary malt.

the drink is sweet but not cloyingly so - it is a rich mix of caramel malts, nicely hopped -- little bit of maple and spiced apple -- maybe it would go well with an apple pie!

definitely a solid selection if you are in the mood for an amber.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Contains an amber color reminiscent of good quality pale ales. Contains barely any head or any noticeable carbonation. When the head disappears, it holds an extremely syrupy look.

Smell is grainy, honey-tinged and slightly fruity. Sweetness crosses the edges and drier bitter hop notes come across the middle. There's a slightly prevailing boozy presence as well. Not unbalanced, but slightly uninteresting.

While the grainy, cereal flavored taste continues, it's awful surprising how bitter this is for an amber ale! It's definitely in the same league as run-of-the-mill English bitters, although it has a West Coast hop variety that makes it exclusive on its own. There's not much malty creaminess here, but the alcohol becomes slightly overpowering as it warms up. This creates a sweetness that refreshing yet (just like Eye of the Hawk) kind of nauseating in the long run. At the end, there's a good bitter aftertaste but the watery, thin feel is very uninteresting.

This was a pivotal beer that got me into craft brewing, but after several years I've found better American ambers and pale ales. It's not bad by any means, and stands as a very humble beer for what it is. I think it's a great gateway beer to get people to try craft beer, but there are definitely more balanced, more presentable beers in this variety.

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Photo of hiku7
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange amber with a thin white head. Floating specks reflect some light. Even though it's hazy, the color works well overall and suggests the caramel malt to come.

Aroma is initially sweet bready malt with some caramel present. The malt has a grainy smell somewhat like hay. Some citrus hop aroma, like oranges, comes through, but the hop aroma also has a grassy element.

Flavor is grassy hops with a bit of orange citrus. The bitterness is fairly forward and sharp and lasts throughout each mouthful. Caramel malt comes through in the finish.

Body is medium with some hay like chewiness. Moderate carbonation. Finishes fairly dry due to the hop bitterness.

Overall, this is a decent amber ale that is very representative of the style's origins. Although it's not a great beer, I come back to it more than I should because it was a gateway beer for me to the craft beer world, so I have a sentimental spot in my palate for this brew. Simple, straightforward and generally enjoyable.

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Photo of EmergingZymurgy
4.18/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle a deep copper color that was crystal clear. He brew had a light, bubbly head that stayed around for a while after it had subsided. There was some lacing on the glass afterward. The smell is nice and caramelly, with some fruity esters present. The taste is caramel and hints of citrus. The mouthfeel is fairly light with focus on the front of the palate. It is a very balanced beer and finishes nice and dry.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. I waited a while before trying it and definitely would buy this one again.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Color was similar to the Blue Heron Pale Ale, but a bit darker. Color was caramel amber. Probably an inch of head. Decent amount of lacing on the top. Film on the sides was sporadic and spread out.

Red malts with a little bit of citrus. Caramel comes in after and is the lasting presence.

I kept thinking roasty malts with the taste. Nice bite of alcohol in there as well. Some caramel and a popcorn aftertaste. It’s safe to say I’ve never had a popcorn aftertaste before.

Medium body. Lively (moderate) carbonation. Good flavor and consistent taste.

I have to say that I liked this much more than I thought I was going to.

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Photo of Microbrewtaster
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The color is a clear amber-brown color. there is a very slight head that is light maybe off white in color and disperses quickly. There is a very thin lacing that remains.

S: A pleasant citrus smell cimiliar to that of an orange and grapefruit mixture. there is a faint malt smell that is emitted and a hint of the alcohol that remains as i countinue to savor the smell of this brew.

T: The taste of this comes off the beggining as buttery followed closely by the corresponding citrus flavor and although maintaining its hoppy bitterness it is bitter to the point where it is almost overwhelming in this beer.

M: This felt to be a relatively light to medium beer with above average corbonation and was dry and crisp.

O: The citrus flavoring was nice but not as much as the smell would have indicated, not a bad beer by any means just not the right one for me at the time it was being savored. I was looking for more flavor as opposed to the bitterness brought to the table by this Ale. I would not discourage anyone from having this beer.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear amber with a decent off-white head.

S - Nose is a little caramelly, but with a whiff of fresh hops.

T - Some dark sugars and molasses, some hoppiness in the back end. A bit of burntness and toast. Bitterer than most.

M - Moderate body. not overly fizzy.

D - OK I guess, but kinda heavy. Bitterer than expected.

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Photo of BilbosNuts
2.65/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours clear and on the darker side of golden. Light bubble streams rise from the bottom of the glass through a moderate amount of floating particles. It has a small, thin white head that fades quickly to a thin film.

S: A big citrus and fruity ester nose is followed by a touch of toasted malts and a bit of herbal hops. There is a slight off putting buttery diacetyl smell coming through.

T: Similar to the aroma with a more pronounced buttery characteristic and a lack of the citrus and fruitiness found in the nose. As in the aroma, the bready malts and touch of hops are present.

M: The feel is on the lighter side with a moderate amount of carbonation. It finishes rather dry.

O: I wasn't a big fan of the buttery aspect in this one. This isn't really a characteristic I look for in an amber. This and the muted malt and hop characters are what brought this one down.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. No stamped date.

Appearance - Pours a loose rocky white head with great stick and decent to good retention. Tons of yeasty sediment plastered to the bottom of the empty bottle.

Smell - Floral hops. Mild sweet, fruity and honey like malt.

Taste - Explosion of flavor in the first sip. Very yeasty and bready and citrusy at first, slowly fading into a mild malt character, and finishing with alcohol, with a somewhat metallic bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full and somewhat creamy. Astringent and somewhat acidic finish and aftertaste.

Overall Drinkability - Reasonably flavorful and complex for the style. Other than some minor flaws such as the ill fitting metallic and astringent characters, this is a pretty legitimate beer for using as a session or a tasting. Not the most amazing beer due to the off characters, but definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Duhast500
3/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sam Adams tasting glass.

The color is a hazy orange with a finger of foamy white head that leaves rather quickly and does not leave any type of lacing.

The smell is malty at first in the nose with some tired sweetness that seems a little old but still hanging in the nose. There is a butterscotch aroma in the far background.

The taste has a sweet flavor as it first touches my tongue. There is a nice malty flavor that is a bit like honey with a slight brown sugar flavor.

The feel of this beer has a smoothness that is pleasant as it goes down. This is pretty drinkable and goes down easy with a slight aftertaste that is there just briefly.

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Photo of EMV
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"Red Tail Ale" is a red ale from Mendocino Brewing Co. in Northern California. It pours a dark golden color with light lacing. The aroma was mild... almost nonexistent, with mild hops and a faint citrus smell. The feel is pleasant and the taste is unassuming... somewhat dry with a hops finish. Not my favorite ale, and it's probably just personal preference but I prefer my ales with a bit more hops. Overall a solid brew though, and I could definitely drink a few of them.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.24/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer pours a striking copper color with thin head and no lace. It's aroma is a bit citrussy with malt sweetness and caramel. The flavor is caramel with spice and root beer notes. It starts smooth leaving a mildly bitter aftertase. As it warms the caramel fades and the hop bitterness pushes through. The mouthfeel is light and dry. Mendocino Red Tail Ale is an okay beer, slightly recommended.

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Photo of JMad
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this from a pint glass...

Pours a murky copper amber color with a foamy off white head that had tight bubbles. The smell is mostly dried fruit with a background of sweet caramel malt. An unexpected bitterness hits you first tasting of lemony hops, there are hints of apricot and caramel with toasted malt and a grassy hop finish. It's medium bodied with low carbonation and a lingering finish. This is an enjoyable and well balanced brew, drinkable on any occasion.

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Red Tail Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.45 out of 5 based on 960 ratings.
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